Television

Sony, Balaji in copyright deal with PPL

MUMBAI: This, certainly is a first for the Indian music industry. A top broadcaster and a leading content provider have come forward to acknowledge the copyright law, which protects the writers of music.

 

Sony Entertainment Television India (SET) and Balaji Telefilms, in which Star has slightly below 26 per cent stake, signed an agreement last month with the Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL) to use its music on various TV shows.

Among others who have signed on the dotted line are Shadow Production House (it has taken nearly 100 licenced clips), Star Screen Awards, Gladrags Mr India and Mrs India (events) and Des Mein Niklla Hoga Chand (TV soap produced by AK Films).

PPL is an organisation that administers broadcasting and public performance rights of its member-companies' sound recordings.

 

 

The annual licence fee deal envisages song sourcing from licensed products to be used and already used in Balaji Telefilms serials and on Sony’s Indian Idol show, which comes to an end later this week.

The agreement signed between Sony and the PPL is effective retrospectively since the launch of the programme, which was last year.

While SET India has done the deal for nearly 500 music clips for their property Indian Idol, Balaji Telefilms has signed up for nearly 1,000 music clips.

Pointing out that this is certainly a positive step towards implementation of piracy laws, Indian Music Industries president Vijay Lazarus told indiantelevision.com, “They have acknowledged and realized the law. Both Sony and Balaji are setting a correct example as they are using the content or music of the rightful owners.”

IMI is an apex body of a gaggle of music companies, which is active in creating awareness about music piracy and the laws concerned in India, apart from acting as an interface between the government and the industry.

How do such deals work? The broadcaster and the content provider pay a royalty at a pre-determined price for incorporation or synchronization of music or music clips in TV programmes.

Such royalty fees could range from Rs 10,000 to Rs 25,000, depending on the usage. PPL has a flat rate of Rs 25,000 per music clip, but on bulk deals discounts are extended. Snapping up 1,000 or more clips would bring down the cost to Rs 10,000/ per clip.

By that standard, as a royalty fee SET India might have paid approximately Rs 12.5 million, while Balaji’s deal must have been worth about Rs 10 million.

Internationally, the law works on the line that the non-physical formats ousted physical formats. It is seen that the royalties on the non-physical formats is far more than the sales of CDs, audio cassettes and other forms of products.

The international trend is that a broadcaster/user of licenced music or any other form of performance pays a blanket licence fee covering the reproduction of recordings of a soundtrack for telecasting.

Last year, PPL had threatened to take broadcasters to court for rampant copyright infringement of works of its member companies. PPL’s contention had been that over the past few years, broadcasters had been ignoring the organisation's repeated calls to obtain licences for using musical properties owned by the organisation’s member-companies.

Although, the revenue earned from the telecast fraternity is a form of source of income but it does not generate a humungous revenue. The hope of course is that this will change and open out into a revenue inlet in future.

It remains to be seen whether this new beginning of showing respect to intellectual property rights spreads in the media and entertainment industry or gets consigned to the dustbin of modern history as a rarity.

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